The Esa illustration shows the Philae lander just before touchdown on the comet’s surface. Source: dpa
Berlin Despite problems with a nozzle, the lander of the Rosetta space probe has taken on Wednesday morning as scheduled on the way to the surface of the comet 67P / Churyumov-Gerasimenko. At 9.35 clock the mini-lab Philae broke away from the probe to cover the last few yards of its more than 500 million kilometers long journey.
Some seven hours later to Philae on the comet’s surface Place , If all goes according to plan, the lander fires directly after putting two harpoons in the comet soil to cling itself. A necessary safety measure, because the comet has no appreciable attraction that would keep the lander on the ground.
Schedule of Philae Landing
12th November, 02.35 clock
The Philae Control Center of the German Aerospace Center (DLR / Cologne) are the “Go” for the later planned separation of the spacecraft Rosetta , Gradually, the instruments of the lander are turned on
12th November 08.00 clock
The Rosetta Control of Esa in Darmstadt is the “Go” for the separation.
12th November 09.35 clock
Philae separates from Rosetta p>
12th November 15.54 clock
Earliest time for landing (confirmation: plus about 28 minutes).
12th November 16.33 clock
Expected Time for landing (confirmation: plus about 28 minutes).
For additional braking effect should actually make a cold gas nozzle, with the lander would be pressed against the surface of the comet. At check the lander last night, this system had, however, not be activated.
“The cold gas nozzle at the top of Philae does not seem to work”, so Philae project manager Stephan Ulamec from German Aerospace Center (DLR). “We will probably need a bit of luck -. On landing we must now rely solely on the harpoons”
Nevertheless, determined the responsible in Rosetta Control in Darmstadt in Tuesday night to leave the mission proceed as planned. The final decision for the separation of the lander from the probe was about half past three clock in the morning. “Despite various problems, we decided to give that Go ‘for the separation,” said Paolo Ferri, Head of the ESA space missions.